The weather wasn't promising leading up to today, but the fanfest was wisely moved into Mollenkopf...so me and a few members of my family headed to God's country anyway.
I don't have a lot to talk about in regards to how the team looks on the field as I didn't get to see much, but I got to interact with about 10 players for a few minutes at a time; as usual the guys we spoke to represented my alma mater and the program very well.
Robert Marve fielded a tough-to-handle comment by Little Boilerdowd like a good teammate. LBD told the Florida native that he should be the starter...and Marve said to the 6 year old fan, "Right now we're splitting snaps; that's what coach wants." As usual, Marve was great with my son and nephew. Took time with them, and didn't act like he didn't want to be there. Same can be said for the other #1 QB, TerBush who was great with the kids and seemed just as friendly with Marve.
Marve looked healthy and commented about how he hasn't felt this physically good in four years.
We also talked with Ricardo Allen, Patrick Bade, KK Short, Joe Gillium, Sean Collins and Trevor Foy. Honestly each one of them made me think more-highly of Hope's program. I'm not sure if these guys are coached up to value the kids coming through (as well as their Dads) or I was just luck to only talk to the good guys, but I don't care. The more I'm around Purdue football and basketball players, the easier it is for me to cheer for both teams. Granted, it's tough to be rude to a 6 year old...but they're the same towards the 36 year olds.
|LBD with KK...Purdue's next AA?|
Some more highlights
KK Short looks to be in tremendous shape and was having a good time talking to people. Sean Collins and Joe Gillium handled two fighting brothers, that were near us in line, like a nice uncle would. Really, all of the players I saw looked to be in pretty good shape- a lot more lean guys (in a good way) than in many Spring games I've been around. Will Lucas looked like a fire hydrant, and Carlos Carvajal is tall even among large men...and his hair is massive. He also played huge in the closed scrimmage later in the afternoon, I'm told; that's promising...perhaps he, Holmes and Wright will have a bit of a position battle in the fall?
My favorite interaction of the day was that with Trevor Foy. I've been a fan of the guy since he signed out of highschool- his combo of athleticism, mammoth height and arm length give him tremendous potential...but the fact that he looked like a villain from a Superman movie in the 80s last season made me like him more.
|LBD and one of Hope's Gentle Giants|
Like many O-lineman, he was smart and very articulate...and was good to talk to. Plus, he was very engaged with my son and seemed interested in the conversation. Sure, my interaction with Foy and the other players was no more than 5 minutes...but at this point, I'd be more surprised to talk with a player that was a jerk than I am to speak with one that represents themselves and the team well.
All that starts with the coach- Hope always has a smile on his face- we've said it before, he seems like he thinks he's living the dream...and that type of attitude is contagious. If you want to read into something- he told LBD "He liked his style" as my boy sported the #9 jersey...seems pretty clear to me who the number one QB really is*.
After I got home from West LaLa, I read up a bit on GBI. Their Spring Game wrap up told me that there was thunder in the area that forced the game indoors. Honestly, I had no idea about that.
It began pouring outside at just before noon...and the doors on the side of Mollenkopf were open so we could see the deluge. I checked the radar and it looked like the worst stuff was on top of us at about quarter after...so I thought we might be soggy, but we'd be heading to Ross-Ade shortly.
Just then, the players flooded onto the practice field and short orange cones were put down on the field.
After our conversation with Foy we moved off the field at the request of a guy in a Purdue sweatshirt. My 5 year old nephew and 6 year old son sat down against the wall behind the cones and watched the team begin warming up.
Then, in typical Purdue Athletic Dept. fashion, we had some gruff old guy representing the event staff dress us down and boot us from the practice field...just after we were told we were fine where we were by someone else.
In hindsight, I have little problem with the game being moved inside and being made private since there are no stands in Mollenkopf; any chance of lightning made it a bad scene for the fans. And I really understand not being able to stay and watch the game...but why there are so many toolbags with poor tact around events and in security at my alma mater makes me scratch my head.
I drove an hour each way to see the Spring game (much less than many who were there) because I really like watching Purdue football...and this guy acted like I had broken into a private party...and the fact that I had a 5 and a 6 year old fan with me didn't seem to matter much to him either. Whatever. It's par for the course. The same athletic department that brings you throngs of empty seats in the lower arena at Mackey that are never allowed to be filled...tone-deaf e-mails and mailings directed at the people who fund the Athletic Department...and an SID that treats alums who run blogs as if they're terrorists to the university; It shouldn't be surprising that they would hire and direct crowd control to treat fans and alums like crap. I shouldn't expect more, I guess...But I do.
All that said, I'm looking forward to seeing this team in the fall- the players and coaches are doing a tremendous job acting as positive PR for the university and its Athletic Department. I'm glad someone is.
*It isn't clear at all who the #1 QB is right now